It’s Doggone Adorable

By: | June 30, 2017

Stonecrest at Clayton View Teams with the APA to Bring its Residents Some Cuddly Medicine

ST. LOUIS, MO — Through anecdotes and research, it’s well-known that pets can help people of all ages reduce stress, loneliness, depression, lower blood pressure and more. However, as a person ages, they often can no longer sufficiently care for a pet on a daily basis. As part of its “Vibrant Life” program, Stonecrest at Clayton View has recently teamed with the Animal Protective Association of Missouri (APA) to find a way that animals, specifically puppies and kittens, can be a part of the extended family at Stonecrest and enrich the lives of their residents.

This past February, Uber partnered with the APA and brought a few puppies for 15 minutes of cuddles to Stonecrest at Clayton View, the newly opened residential care community located in Richmond Heights, through its #UberPuppies project. This sparked an idea with the staff at Stonecrest, as some of their employees had occasionally brought their own dogs in for a day here and there, but nothing on a regular basis.

“We had been trying to figure out how to incorporate a way for our residents to interact with pets,” said Rachel Griffhorn, executive director of Stonecrest at Clayton View. “After Uber had a day earlier this year to bring puppies from the APA for a short visit, the idea for a more permanent program just blossomed from there.”

“The APA has a program called PetReach,” Sarah Javier, president and executive director, APA said. “It’s a program where volunteers bring pets for short visits to residents of senior living communities. When we spoke with Stonecrest, they wanted to expand the program beyond short visits. We worked with Stonecrest to develop a program that allows their community to foster puppies or kittens for a few weeks at a time. The project just came together at the end of April and we are thrilled with the results.” The APA foster care partnership is a win-win for Stonecrest and the APA.

How the foster program with Stonecrest works:
Fostering helps the APA reduce exposure to illness during the early weeks of an animal’s life and provides critical socialization for the animals making them well-adjusted and eager to interact with all those they meet. These things make for a wonderfully adoptable pet that is happy and healthy. The puppies and kittens remain at the Stonecrest at Clayton View three to five weeks until they are old enough to be spayed/neutered and then adopted into their forever home (they must be at least 8 weeks old before they can be adopted). While at Stonecrest, the APA provides all needed supplies, including food, pet enclosures, medical care and vaccinations. Stonecrest residents and staff members are responsible for basic care, but most importantly, lots of love and belly rubs.

Benefits for Stonecrest and the APA:
Expanding the partnership with Stonecrest helps the APA meet the demand for animal foster families. The residents at Stonecrest also benefit from the foster program. Seniors who participate with pets are more active as they walk with the puppies and engage with them, or simply pick them up – reaching and stretching more often. Having puppies available for cuddling also brings residents out of their rooms and encourages interaction with animals and those around them. And finally, having a puppy or kitten that depends on the residents gives them a sense of purpose and a reason for getting up in the morning. As a result, depression is lessened and the outlook on life is more positive and hopeful. It’s a special kind of medicine and care that only a tiny animal can provide.

“Our residents love everything about this partnership. In just the short time this partnership has been going on we’ve seen definite improvements with our residents who engage with the puppies,” Erika Holmes, director of the Vibrant Life Program at Stonecrest at Clayton View said. “It is good for our residents because it gives them purpose and makes them happy. It can also be counted as cardiovascular exercise if they are walking the puppies. It is therapeutic for their hands as well as their soul. The program’s benefits are truly endless.”

“For more than 30 years, the APA has partnered with the senior community to further the relationship between people and pets,” Javier said. “When exploring innovative and unique ways to meet the needs of our most vulnerable animals, it just made sense to explore the expansion of one of our longest-standing partnerships. Meeting the needs of our puppies and kittens while bringing joy and purpose to the senior living residents – it is the best kind of care there is.”

About Stonecrest at Clayton View
Stonecrest at Clayton View, located at 8825 Eager Road in Richmond Heights, Mo., opened on October 31, 2016. The community consists of 55 private, assisted-living apartments. In addition, there are 26 suites within a specially designed memory-care neighborhood. The cornerstone of senior living at Stonecrest is its resident-centered care and its signature “Vibrant Life” program. Working with each resident, the staff at Stonecrest creates an individualized care plan tailored to the resident’s needs, personal preferences and flexibility – balancing the support needed with the independence desired. Stonecrest Senior Living is a partnership between NorthPoint Development and Integral Senior Living. Currently Stonecrest operates communities in Kansas City, Mo. and Richmond Heights, Mo. During 2017, Stonecrest will open additional communities in Town & Country, Mo.; Columbus, Ohio.; Troy Mich.; Rochester Hills, Mich.; and Indianapolis, Ind.

About APA of Missouri
The APA is located at 1705 South Hanley Road, St. Louis, MO 63144. Founded in 1922, the Animal Protective Association of Missouri is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people and pets together, advancing humane education and creating programs beneficial to the human/animal bond. Since the beginning, the APA has been a leader in the humane treatment of animals in the St. Louis area and focuses on adoption, wellness and education. The APA foster care program has grown rapidly in the past few years with 562 animals fostered in 2016 and 434 animals already benefitting from the foster program in 2017. In 2016, the APA found homes for 2,684 homeless animals.